There’s a simple solution to the issue of the National Football League and U.S. Soccer players kneeling during the playing of the national anthem (“Trump says he won’t watch if players kneel,” June 15). The president and many sports fans, myself included, believe that not standing for the national anthem disrespects the American flag. Many players state that kneeling during the playing of the anthem is not intended to disrespect the flag, but rather to protest police brutality and racism. Some, perhaps all, of the players who kneel truly believe that they’re not disrespecting the flag. But to some players, and tens of thousands of fans, perception is reality.
Moreover, to protest during the anthem unnecessarily puts players who in good conscience won’t kneel in an untenable situation: Kneel and compromise their belief that it’s disrespectful to the flag or decline to kneel and risk being perceived as indifferent to police abuse and racism (potentially resulting in a schism among teammates and disruption of team chemistry).
It takes just over a minute to play The Star-Spangled Banner. Why can’t players kneel in protest for a minute just before the anthem is played and stand for the anthem? In that case, it’s likely that the entire team and coaches would feel comfortable protesting together. If players insist on kneeling during the anthem, that belies their contention that they’re not disrespecting the flag. Players can protest honorably and honor the flag. But not simultaneously.
David Holstein, Parkville
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